Sunday, 9 June 2013

More protectionism with a foodie spin...


Prosecco - lovely stuff and, as appears to be the case with almost every sort of food and drink subject to protectionism:

EU Common Market Organisation reforms take effect on August 1, 2009, and the inter-regional Prosecco DOC and the Prosecco DOCG will be folded into the new PDO Protected Designation of Origin appellation system.

That's right, if you're not in North East Italy they're going to go for you if you have the cheek to use the term "Prosecco" - despite the fact that "prosecco" is the name of the grape it's made from and has nothing specific to do with the Veneto. Just as the Cornish Pasty is just a recipe and champagne is just a process, prosecco is just a type of grape.

All this is a bit tough on the Croatians who have been using the grape - 'prosek' - for just as long as the Italians but to make a sweet dessert wine rather than a light fizz:

In a vaulted cellar on the pine-clad island of Hvar, Andro Tomic pops a cork on a bottle of his beloved prosek wine and pours a generous glass.
The amber-coloured dessert wine holds a special place in the hearts of Croats, particularly those along the Dalmatian coast, but it is about to face the full wrath of the Brussels bureaucracy.
The European Union has ruled that prosek is too similar in name to Italy's prosecco and that after July 1, when Croatia realises a decade-old ambition of joining the EU, it can no longer be sold as such. 

So much for protecting traditional local produce! The EU justify is like this:

They say there is a danger that consumers could be "misled" and could inadvertently buy a bottle of Croatian prosek when in fact they were looking for light, fizzy prosecco. 

Of course, it's not about this really at all, the Croats have been making prosek for 500 years alongside that sparkling prosecco without the need for special protections. And, I'm prepared to guess that the number of people who've confused the two is pretty low - somewhere close to zero.

The beneficiaries of these rules aren't artisan producers, they are large industrial concerns - the prosecco equivalent of Ginsters - that can secure higher profits through securing a PDO.

It's just protectionism given a foodie spin.


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